We continue our look back at the year that was 2014, and this time around it’s all about the high, the lows, and the letdowns in video gaming. 2014 was full of some good games, but it also had its fair share of bad games and big disappointment.
Best of Gaming 2014
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor: There hasn’t been a better open world experience this year, not with a component as compelling as the nemesis system. Never have I felt so threatened by an AI opponent before or eager to exact justice upon one that has menaced me somehow. Each has a different personality, a different weakness and strength, giving this game a depth like no other, something gamers have wanted to see since the next generation began. With SoM, we got finally got it.
South Park: The Stick of Truth: For a while I was wondering if we’d even see this game. Hallelujah, we did and it turned out to be an early year success, but something I haven’t forgotten. This is the South Park game we wanted and deserved. It has the humor of the show and even feels and looks like a 3 part episode. It has easy RPG mechanics, straightforward directives yet, enough freedom to make you want to do more than what is just presented.
Dragon Age: Inquisition: This franchise’s sequel may have been a bit lackluster and disappointing, but the sheer expanse of its latest installment makes up for any wrongdoing. Inquisition traces back to its origins and lets you embrace vast new regions. This is a Bioware so you can expect it to be replayable, long and detailed. If you were looking for one game to last you a long time, a game that will be well worth a 100 hours, look no further.
Nintendo: For the number of things that went wrong this year with games being released, Nintendo just got it right. They might still be in the shadows lurking, but you have to admit they’ve had a pretty solid year with their releases on both the 3DS and Wii U. We all know their first party releases will probably outshine any other first party franchise any day, but they also did good on the non-Nintendo exclusives like Bayonetta 2 and Bravely Default.
Worst and Disappointments of Gaming 2014
Ubisoft: The majority of Ubisoft’s games this year were open world, many of them sharing mechanics of each other. From Watch Dogs to The Crew, many of us are sick of the sandboxes they released. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t all bad, in fact a lot of their releases are great, Far Cry 4 being one of them. However, a lot of their releases were put out in unfinished states and by the end of the year, I was sick of another giant world to explore. Dial it back a bit, take a year off from these kinds of games … what’s wrong with a guided experience?
Broken releases: Aside from Ubisoft putting out barely playable games this year, there have been other games that share this shame. Frankly, it is downright inexcusable to put out a game so many glaring glitches and bugs that it’s a wonder how it made it past the certification process. One thing is for sure: if you’re going to be spending $60 for a AAA title, it better be right when you put it in your console.
Destiny: Could anyone tell what this game was supposed to be before it was released? Everybody moved out of the way for Destiny and it turned out to be nothing what we expected from Bungie. The prestige of Halo is a something we expected Destiny to live up to, if not surpass. While there is nothing inherently wrong with Destiny, the game works, plays well and looks great. However, it was just a let down to hear that it’s story is nonexistent for such a promising premise. Even more so, the basic structure of the game is redundant combined with an overly grindy experience. I’m still trying to figure out where the “game” is in Destiny.
Sonic: Okay, I thought we were out of the woods on this one, but it turns out something turned us around. Sonic games have generally been getting better over the years, making a steady progression to something passable. But, nope it looks like Sonic decided to serve us trash, yet again.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Talk about hopes being given up. While it’s not completely uninspired and the concept of playing an ES game online with your friends sounds like it would be a blast. However, Skyrim or Oblivion in MMO form may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Elder Scrolls Online lacked some key features at launch and the draw that makes us dump hundreds of hours into exploring Tamriel. With no word on a console release date, there is still a lot of room to improve. There are just some games that aren’t meant to be played online.